Cigarette Smoking and Cold Medication: A Dangerous Combination

Woman smoking

Tobacco use and cigarette smoking continues to be a problematic issue in the United States, with tobacco use remaining the single largest preventable cause of death.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly half a million Americans lose their lives each year due to cigarette smoking, with more than 41,000 of these deaths resulting from exposure to secondhand smoke [1].

A widespread number of individuals may choose to smoke cigarettes, including adolescents, young adults, older adults, people of all ages, genders, socioeconomic backgrounds, races and ethnicities.

Understanding How Tobacco Use May Interact With Other Substances

Tobacco in cigarettes can potentially interact with other substances, including over the counter medications, alcohol, prescription medications and more.

Because of the prevalence of cigarette use, many people may not consider that the nicotine they are ingesting may potentially react with other substances they are also consuming, which could create problematic side effects.

Nicotine alone from cigarettes can create an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, which may be exacerbated by other substances as well.

Over the counter cold medications are also commonly found in countless households across the country. Many people may falsely assume that over the counter medications are “harmless” substances because they can be purchased virtually anywhere and are obtainable without a prescription.

However, even over the counter cold medications can contain substances that can be potentially harmful or toxic to body, particularly if not used correctly or if combined with other substances, such as nicotine in cigarette smoke.

Preventing Adverse Side Effects from Nicotine Use

Portrait of a desperate businessmanBecause the use of both cigarettes and over the counter cold medications are prevalent among many Americans across the nation, it is easy to justify the use of these substances, particularly in combination.

If you or someone you care for is currently using cigarettes on a regular basis, take careful precautions in what you combine with tobacco use, particularly over the counter cold medications.

If you are unsure about the potential side effects that may result from combining tobacco use and over the counter cold medications, be sure to talk with your doctor as a preventative step in protecting your health and your life.


[1]: “Cigarette Smoking Among U.S. Adults Aged 18 Years and Older”, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,

Crystal Karges photo

About the Author: Crystal is a Masters-level Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with a specialty focus in eating disorders, maternal/child health and wellness, and intuitive eating. Combining clinical experience with a love of social media and writing, Crystal serves as the Special Projects Coordinator for Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope, where her passion to help others find recovery and healing is integrated into each part of her work.

As a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, Crystal has dedicated her career to helping others establish a healthy relationship with food and body through her work with EDH/AH and nutrition private practice.

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of addictions. These are not necessarily the views of Addiction Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Addiction Hope understand that addictions result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on March 14, 2016
Published on

About Baxter Ekern

Baxter Ekern is the Vice President of Ekern Enterprises, Inc. He contributed and helped write a major portion of Addiction Hope and is responsible for the operations of the website.